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Foreign Secretary urged to apologise for attending ‘racist’ anti-immigrants campaign launch

(Photo: Chatham House/Creative Commons)

Harun Nasrullah

Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has been urged to apologise after it emerged that he helped launch “Keep Havering Safe” campaign in December, a Conservative campaign that has been accused of “dog-whistle racism”.

The campaign went on to distribute leaflets claiming that a Labour victory would result in the borough becoming increasingly like an inner-city area with a “massive population” rise and a “crime wave”.

It warned that the influence of London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, could lead to the borough ending up “resembling Hackney, Newham, Camden and Barking” rather than “traditional” parts of Essex.

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell revealed that Johnson had supported the launch of the campaign on his visit to Romford.

The Conservative Party Chair, Brandon Lewis, was also under pressure to intervene in the row after the local election leaflet, which one of the councillors behind it said was signed off by national party headquarters, came to light.

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, called the leaflet “one long dog whistle about race”, saying it marked a return to the controversial tactics used against Khan when he defeated Zac Goldsmith to become mayor in 2016.

Goldsmith was criticised, including by some Conservatives, for repeatedly raising what he alleged were Khan’s previous links to extreme Muslim figures and for not being sufficiently tough on terrorism.

Lammy said, “It is now contingent on Boris Johnson to apologise to Londoners for seemingly condoning this vile leaflet. I call on Brandon Lewis as party chair to do the same.”

Romford’s paper, the Enquirer, published pictures of Johnson paying a surprise visit to Romford to support’s Rosindell’s campaign. It was understood to be an official CCHQ campaigning day to support the Conservative candidates running in May, and one of many that he does around the country.

Rosindell said at the time: “While Havering is an outer London borough, we don’t want the social problems which come with more migration from inner London. Havering has always been a low crime area with great community spirit.”

A spokesman for the Conservatives told The Muslim News: “Romford Conservatives intended to highlight local concerns about housing pressures, high-density urbanisation and badly-run Labour councils in inner London. They have apologised for any offence caused and the leaflet has been withdrawn.”

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence, guests respond

Olubunmi Falilat Alabi, Librarian, Muslim Association of Nigeria & Kafayat Eletu, Educationist, Muslim Association of Nigeria
(Photo: Abdul Datoo/The Muslim News)

The Muslim News has been inundated with positive feedback from guests of this year’s The News Awards for Excellence, we present some of the many words of encouragement and gratitude sent to us:

It was the first time I have attended but it was a pleasure to have seen the amazing work going in the community. Mr Imran Razaq, Cube Network, London

As always, it’s the remarkable achievements of all the nominees, showing the great contributions of Muslim communities across the UK.
Ali Khimji, Al-Mizan Charitable Trust

The thing that I enjoyed most was the fact that the awards celebrated excellence from Muslims in this country. The fact that all political parties were represented was also excellent. I was also impressed by the calibre of all the shortlisted candidates.
Dr Fayyaz Afzal OBE, Ministry of Justice, Leicester County Court

This year the Muslim News Awards excelled in as much that this is the very best event I have attended with added prestige. The mix and quality of guests was impressive! Both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and seeing Muslims’ talent and positive contribution to society acknowledged. Congratulations!
Karim Sacoor, Cross Govt Dept Advisory Group on Anti Muslim Hatred

I want to congratulate you for this fabulous event, as always. The organising was excellent, including the Guests, Food and the entertainer.
Jaafar El-Ahmar, Journalist

The inspirational dimension of the award ceremony: after a barrage of criticism and censure of Muslims and Islam throughout the year round, this event reassures and is uplifting to note that despite, Muslims of all ages in Britain are engaged in contributing positively, developing themselves and demonstrating that they have a stake in the British society. Involvement of Muslim youth as volunteers is very positive and encouraging. Keep up the brilliant work and may Allah (swt) continue to give you strength and bless you with ‘resourcefulness’.
Dr Qadir Bakhsh, MBE, E.A.G.L.E.S. Consultancy, Essex

I would like to say that it was a very pleasant evening. I must congratulate you and your staff to maintain a well-organised and disciplined celebration of the Excellence amongst Muslim population, as well as remembering the role-models under whose titles the awards are recommended. It was notable to hear your speech identifying the challenges facing the community in `UK.
Dr Alam Khan, Pakistan Medical Association

Thank you so much for your email and thank you more for the most enjoyable night and for gathering that number of Muslims and pioneer under one roof. I enjoyed the night to the maximum and I appreciated all the work done by all the nominated people from 10 years old to 60 or 70 years old.
Ms Insaf Abbas, Human Appeal

Just a quick note to say thank you ever so much for a beautifully organised Muslim Awards for Excellence event. Very inspiring, well deserving individuals from the Muslim community. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening. It was an amazing awards ceremony! Credit goes to yourself and your entire team. Delicious food and excellent service indeed. Congratulations to all winners of such beautiful awards. May Allah SWT reward you and bless you in abundance for serving the community for over 2 decades.
Dr Tariq Abbasi MBE DL, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London

I would like to thank you Ahmed and all for putting on such a great Muslim News Excellence Awards. It was really heartwarming to see so many talented members of our community being recognised for their outstanding contributions to their own community and beyond. Personally one of the truly memorable highlights of the evening was seeing Dr Fayyaz Afzal and Shezad Nawab being rewarded for their inspirational achievements. Listening to the latter with the help of the sign language interpreter was equally awe-inspiring and most humbling. It was also very thoughtful of you to provide a list of all guests to facilitate communication during the evening and possibly for future contact. The range of speakers was most impressive and inclusive. Summing up: A fantastic evening, marvellous setting with great attention to detail, superb organisation and such a welcoming and warm atmosphere.
Ms Saleha Rahal, British Red Cross

Thank you so much for an invitation to such a wonderful evening to celebrate such wonderful Muslims and their communities, It was a pleasure to be in the company of such accomplished people. I really enjoyed networking with everybody at the beginning with the drinks.
Miss Zahra Alazaibi, Zahrarosea

Overall I think it was fantastic and I would like to congratulate your staff and volunteers, I know how hard it is organising such events. The evening was a chance for Muslims to be proud and come together to showcase our achievements and contribution to the UK.
Abdal Ahmed, Muslim Sports Council

It was my first time at the event and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Most of all, I loved the showcasing of talent within the British Muslim community (I think it’s really important to tell our own good news stories, especially in the current climate of rabid Islamophobia we are unfortunately passing through), the professional organisation and the food! Also, the event provides an excellent opportunity for networking and meeting like-minded friends and colleagues and sowing the seeds of mutual collaboration and synergy.
Dr Riyaz Timol, Research Associate in British Muslim Studies, Cardiff University

Thank you so much for inviting my colleague Ian Larke and myself to this amazing evening. We felt very privileged to be there and celebrating the achievements of Muslim people in the UK. The whole event was very inspiring, organised and such a beautiful venue. The food, the timing was perfect and we certainly enjoyed ourselves throughout the event. Well done and thank you so much for organising this precious evening.
Mrs Tania Al-Hassani, Projekt Meverick

I was impressed by the achievement of those who received the awards and the speeches they made. They did come across as determined individuals who contributed positively to society in the different fields they excelled in. Some of them worked hard against the odds to achieve what they did achieve, especially the barrister who succeeded despite being blind. I very much enjoyed his speech. It was also a good night for the ladies since they took a good number of the awards.
Dr Abdul-Rahim Hassan, The Wednesday Magazine, Oxford

I did attend the event with my wife and it was an honour to be there and witness the awards ceremony. I was very much impressed with the whole event and the way it was organised, well done to yourself and the team. It is always pleasing to know that we have community members who are dedicated to the services they provide not only to the community itself but to a wider public in general. Please keep up the good work. I wish you all the success for the work you are doing and may Allah grant you the strength to continue.
Musafir Somani, Hon. Secretary KSIMC of London

What I enjoyed most was the hearing about the amazing work of the Muslim News. The planning and organisation is very smooth, nice team of volunteers, a strange thing to say but they always look and behave pleasantly. The inspiring people you champion, of all age groups/genders. Opportunity to see other charities work. Guest list- as it’s good to know who’s attending.
Miss Sammera Ali, Human Appeal

I loved the fact that at least two of the outright winners showed that their disabilities did not impede their chances of success and accomplishment. Both candidates were a refreshing example of individuals who refuse to let anything or anyone impede their progress; too easily we can become victims, blaming others and outside forces for our plights. The cloak of victimhood should never rest easily on our shoulders and these awards are a clear example of what happens when we refuse to wear it.
Ms Yvonne Ridley, European Muslim League, Scotland

I met some most interesting and charming people. I find your event inspiring and an excellent opportunity to discuss initiatives for encouraging on the one hand trust to grow between those of faith and on the other actions that can help the vulnerable in our society.
Sir Jonathan Portal, Winchester Cathedral/JP Associates

I wanted to reach out and thank you for the cordial invitation to The Muslim News Awards. Not having been to such an event in the past, and not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by the level at which these awards are held on an annual basis. The stories of all the nominees, and the winners, in particular, are truly inspiring; to see how these individuals are making a difference in society, and overcoming individual hurdles to excel in their commitment to show the best of who we are. I want to thank you again for a lovely evening.
Mohamed Ladha B. Comm, DiPFA, Partner of St. James,s Place Wealth Management

Education department set to cancel pupil nationality-sharing deal with Home Office

Campaign image (Photo: Against Borders for Children)

Nadine Osman

Parents, teachers and civil right groups are celebrating the news that the Government is to back down on a controversial requirement that schools in England must collect data on their pupils’ nationality and country of birth as part of the school census.

The campaign group Against Borders for Children (ABC), which has fought against the policy since its introduction in September 2016, welcomed the apparent Government u-turn on April 9 as a “comprehensive victory”.

A spokesman for ABC told The Muslim News that it is a “massive victory” against “Tory hostile agenda” but warned, “there is still some unfinished business, though: the data which has already been collected must be deleted, and the DfE [Department for Education] must stop sharing children’s addresses with Home Office enforcement teams.”

Advocacy and Policy Officer at Liberty, Gracie Bradley, said the requirement to collect pupils’ nationality and country of birth data was a “poisonous attempt to build foreign children lists.”

More than 500 people donated a total of more than £12,000 to fund a court action to overturn the policy.

The Government maintained the information was required to help schools cater for pupils for whom English was not their first language, and insisted it would not be passed onto the Home Office for immigration inquiries.

However, in December 2016, it was revealed that education officials had an agreement to share the personal details of up to 1,500 school children a month with the Home Office to “create a hostile environment” in schools for illegal migrants.

The agreement between the DfE and the Home Office, read: “Where it is suspected that an [immigration offence] has been, or is being committed, the DfE will [share] their data with the HO [Home Office] to assist in the process of identifying potential new contact details (including addresses) for the individual(s) and their family members.”

It added that the “strategic aims” of the data sharing include re-establishing contact with families the Home Office has lost contact with, to reduce the population of illegal migrants, and to “create a hostile environment for those who seek to benefit from the abuse of immigration control”.

Bradley said she hoped the Government climb down would inspire further resistance to the Government’s broader hostile environment policies, adding: “It doesn’t change the fact that the DfE is still sharing the addresses of hundreds of children and families with the Home Office every month.

“Until undocumented people are able to access vital frontline services without fear of being shopped to the Home Office, there will still be children in the UK robbed of their right to an education and worse.”

The DfE was unable to comment because of ongoing legal action. Sources told Schools Week however that schools would not be required to submit pupil nationality or country of birth data in the next census which is due on May 17.

Civil right groups welcomed the news but warned a similar data-sharing deal between the NHS and Home Office is still ongoing. Joy Patel, a spokesperson for Docs Not Cops, said, “The Government bluntly rejected the Health Select Committee’s urgent request that data-sharing between NHS Digital and the Home Office for immigration enforcement purposes be put to an end. Data sharing and upfront charges in the NHS work together to deter patients, often those who are the most vulnerable in society, from seeking crucial treatment. This includes children who are not exempt from these charges.”

 

British Muslim Heritage Centre receives Queen’s award

 

Nadine Osmann

 

The British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC) has been awarded Her Majesty the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The award was created by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and to recognise the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers.

Established in 2007 to celebrate ‘Muslim Heritage and making it accessible to all’, the BMHC has quickly become Manchester and the North-leading centre for Muslim culture. The Centre offers an active learning environment for both Muslims and the wider community alike.

It holds regular Islamic Heritage workshops, organises and holds an annual Islam and Science Conference. The Centre has developed and designed an interactive ‘Muslim timeline exhibition’ (first of its kind in the world), which was opened to the public from 2016.

With over 120,000 visitors a year, benefiting from a range of services, the BMHC always welcomes and encourages people to come forward and support the many community projects on offer, such as BMHC Scouts Group, exhibitions, community radio, and over 30 different initiatives supporting youth, women and other groups.

In a statement to The Muslim News Nasar Mahmood, Chair of BMHC, said: “The trustees, staff, volunteers and supporters of BMHC are grateful for the recognition, which can only spur us all to strive even harder to build a stronger and more cohesive society. The BMHC is an organization of committed people, the vast majority of whom are volunteers, dedicated to this cause and have proven over the years that together we can achieve our aspirations”.

PM praises mosque support Grenfell Tower fire survivors

PM, Theresa May hosts an Eid reception (Photo: Downing Street)

Ahmed J Versi

Prime Minster, Theresa May, thanked Muslims at Al-Manaar Mosque situated short distance from Grenfell Tower, for opening up the mosque to the survivors of the fire.

“Everything they did following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower when they – along with other faith communities – demonstrated such extraordinary community spirit, helping those in immediate need, and organising donations for those who had lost everything,” May said at Eid reception held in Downing Street on June 18.

The Prime Minster praised the hospitality of the Muslims at the mosque when she visited them for iftar the week before.

“What made the evening special, what also made it memorable, was the iftar: a simple act of hospitality – of sharing a meal – and the warmth, generosity – and patience – of everyone there, and that despite the long hours of fasting, which I can only imagine feels even longer during a British summer!”

She added that such act of hospitality “has been replicated many times over this year – as people of different backgrounds across the UK have shared in iftars this Ramadan, including in Bristol where an estimated 3,000 residents attended one such iftar.”

May then paid tribute to the role that British Muslims are playing in society which are too often goes unacknowledged and unrecognised “from the millions of pounds you contribute to charities every year, the local and national activism that is helping to make this a better place to live, to the work carried out every day by Muslim doctors, nurses, entrepreneurs, civil servants, sporting professionals, media presenters and those in the armed forces.”

The Prime Minister every community in Britain “are respected, feel valued, and free to practise your religion in peace.”
May condemned the terrorist attack against Muslims in Finsbury Park last Ramadan.

“What happened in Finsbury Park was a sickening and horrific terrorist attack – an attack on ordinary people going about their daily lives, an attack on a community, and an attack on all of us.

“But what we also saw was the spirit of community that apprehended the attacker, and the spirit of our thriving, diverse, vibrant city as people rallied round those affected in support and solidarity.

“That spirit, and the shared values that underpin it – respect, compassion and justice – are what make this country such a great place to live.”

Archbishop of Canterbury joins Nigerian Muslims for iftar

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby joined the President of the Muslim Association of Nigeria, Adesian Mojeed Alabi and 200 guests for iftar on June 6 (Photo: Ahmed J Versi/Muslim News)

Ahmed J Versi

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, joined over 200 Nigerian Muslims for iftar in south London on June 6.

Welcoming the Archbishop, President of Muslim Association of Nigeria (MAN), Adesian Mojeed Alabi, said his organisation has been working with the churches for a long time. “There is no doubt that current interfaith relationship has a great impact on our community cohesion,” he said.

Alabi said MAN (UK) and Southwark Inter-Faith Group considered the need to create a platform, during this Ramadan, “for reflecting upon the Twinning relationship between the Mosque and St Philips and St Peters churches and create a platform to promote unity, peace, compassion and harmony for all, as enjoined in Islam.”

[Photo: Nigerian Muslims at the iftar event with Archbishop of Canterbury at Old Kent Road Mosque. Photographer: Ahmed J Versi/The Muslim News]

 

Archbishop Welby said he was not a stranger amongst Nigerians as he has been to Nigeria for more than 90 times, most of them before he became an Archbishop.

He was impressed with Muslims “for their discipline and fasting in Ramadan.”

“In what you do, you are a witness not only to Islam through your prayer and dedication but you also are a witness to the importance of faith in a country where the majority have forgotten that faith matters. Thank you for your observance in Ramadan, you bless the whole country,” Welby said.

The Archbishop said the UK was better “because of the presence of diversity. You are a blessing to us all.”

He said the diversity “is exciting and full of life and that life has come from those who have come to this country.”

Even though Muslims and Christians differ on very important issues of faith “we can be an example, we can differ without hatred, we can love one another.”

 

Mosque critical in helping Grenfell Tower fire survivors, says Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at iftar, Finsbury Park Mosque on May 28 (Photo: Ahmed J Versi/Muslim News)

Ahmed J Versi

Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said Ramadan is an important time for Muslims and they played an important role in giving support to the survivors and families of Grenfell fire.

Corbyn was speaking at the iftar in Al Manaar Mosque which is situated near the Grenfell Tower on June 4.

“This mosque has given so much to the community especially after Grenfell fire. It provided immediate response to shelter, provide food, clothes and long-term care such as counselling to the families who were affected by the fire.”

He added that the mosque “continues to play a critical role in the community, including by opening a dedicated Grenfell Counselling Centre.”

“I came here the day after the fire. The Tower was still alight. I saw people from faith communities already providing food and sustenance and help, a wonderful response by the community.”

Corbyn was critical of the local authority for failing to respond to the fire. “We need a better response from our public authorities and that is what I am determined Labour Party in government will achieve for people in every part of the country. Voluntary support was vital for Grenfell. There is no individual hero at Grenfell. The community as a whole and the response given as a whole is the hero.”

The Labour Leader was concerned about the rise of Islamophobia in the country.

“We see the rising cases of Islamophobia in the country. Hate crime has gone up by 40% in the past year. A third of all Muslim students in universities feel frightened as they may be discriminated against and some are under attack.”

He said in his constituency large number of Muslim women “suffer abuse on the streets or buses” and this is “totally unacceptable”.

“We, as a party, are opposed to any form of racism. We are a party of bringing people together. Diversity is our strength.”

The iftar was organised by the Labour Muslim Network.

Home Secretary Javid hits back at those questioning his faith

Ahmed J Versi

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, lashed out at those deriding him as “not Muslim enough” after he rejected claims by the Muslim Council of Britain that there was widespread Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.

Speaking at the Big Iftar Party in the House of Commons hosted by Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, on June 5, Javid was furious that his faith was being challenged. He began his speech by reminding the audience that he was “the first Muslim Home Secretary to be invited” to the iftar.

He briefly talked about the significance of Ramadan. “Ramadan is much more than just fasting, it’s about spiritual reflection, charity, good deeds, spending time with your loved ones, your family and friends.”

Javid said his job is sometimes “not an easy place to be. Since becoming the Home Secretary I have been called a ‘coconut’, an ‘Uncle Tom’, and some much worse than that, and some people have even questioned whether I am really a Muslim, whether I am a Muslim or not. Some people say I’m too Muslim, others say I’m not Muslim enough. I just can’t keep up.”

“But there is one thing that I do know about being a Muslim in Great Britain, and that is, that I have the right to define myself, not Muslim extremists, not the far right. My relationship with God is my business as is yours,” he continued.

He added that instead, “we should celebrate our different connections to such a generous and compassionate faith.”

The self-described son of a bus driver from Bristol was born to Pakistani immigrants in Britain and was raised in a Muslim family. However, questions about his faith arose when he said he did not practise Islam.

Addressing a church-hosted husting in his inaugural election campaign for Bromsgrove on April 22, 2010, Javid told the audience: “My own family’s heritage is Muslim. Myself and my four brothers were brought up to believe in God, but I do not practise any religion. My wife is a practising Christian and the only religion practised in my house is Christianity.”

Be alert of Hajj fraud, pilgrims warned

(Photo: Creative Commons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

The UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre is warning Muslims to be alert to fraudsters targeting pilgrims to Makkah out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The warning by Action Fraud comes in time for Hajj which is expected to see 25,000 Muslims from the UK travel to Saudi Arabia in August.

British Muslims have lost almost a million pounds to hajj-related frauds in the past five years and in 2017, the average reported loss per victim stood at a staggering £5,869.

According to a report by Action Fraud, ‘Between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017 there were 17 reports of Hajj-related fraud made to Action Fraud, marking a 143 per cent increase on the previous year’s reporting figures. Hotspots for recorded offending were London, the West Midlands and Manchester.’

Police believe that the official figures of victims are “just the tip of the iceberg” as many people are too embarrassed or ashamed to report the crime.

Victims have lost between £1,000 and £33,000 each, Action Fraud says. Many are duped by bogus travel agents and tour operators, who request payment by bank transfer, then vanish. Such payments are not protected by the Consumer Credit Act.

Detective Sergeant Kevin Ives, from the City of London Police, said: “Many victims will have saved for years to be able to afford to travel to Saudi Arabia and as a result will be absolutely devastated when they find out that they have in fact been conned by fraudsters.

“Hajj fraud continues to destroy the dreams people have of making a once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca, which is why, together with our industry partners, we are raising awareness of this crime.

“Be sure to conduct your own research into the travel company you are thinking of using and make sure it is really a member of ABTA [Association of British Travel Agents] by checking online and is ATOL [Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing] protected and is not just using false logos. You should also get everything in writing and, if you think you have become a victim, report it to Action Fraud.”

Chief Executive of ABTA, Mark Tanzer, said fraudsters target Muslim pilgrims “as very large sums of money are at stake” with many people using their life savings for the once-in-a-lifetime trip.

“ABTA members selling to the Muslim community have reported to us that fraudsters rely on the fact that some pilgrims may not be aware of the strict regulations governing package travel, or the benefits of booking through companies who belong to a recognised trade body, like ABTA. This kind of fraud is particularly despicable as pilgrims may never again be in the position to fulfil this religious duty,” said Tanzer.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau said the average victim of travel-related fraud was conned out of about £1,500. However, Abta says individual cases of haj-fraud are often five or six times this amount.

Travel arrangements that are sold in the UK with flights and accommodation must have an Atol certificate, which financially protects travellers.

Turner Prize winner among 28 Muslims honoured

Professor Lubaina Himid CBE, Akeela Ahmed MBE, Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi CBE and Dr Syed Tanzeem Haider Raza OBE

Elham Asaad Buaras

Two police officers, a fire-fighter, a Turner Prize winner, an architect and a leading consultant physician are among 28 Muslims celebrating recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Professor Lubaina Himid has been recognised with a CBE.

Himid’s work is on display in four shows in Europe, including the Berlin Biennale in Germany and is being awarded for her services to art. Himid, who was also awarded an MBE in 2010 for services to black women’s art, told The Muslim News, “I sincerely hope it will enable me to continue to develop even more collaborative strategies for connecting artists to audiences in a meaningful way.”

The CBE rounds off a successful 12 months for Himid, who won the prestigious Turner Prize last December and was named the 2017 Artist of the Year by Apollo Magazine. Known as one of the pioneers of the British black arts movement back in the 1980s, Himid, who is also a PhD supervisor at UCLan, has spent her 35-year career shining a light on the trade in enslaved people and the contribution made by the people of the Black Diaspora.

Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Southampton, has been awarded a CBE for his services to engineering and industry.

Al-Hashimi joined the University in 2000 as a Senior Lecturer and was appointed to a Personal Chair in 2004. He became ARM Professor of Computer Engineering in 2008.

Bashir told The Muslim News, “I am honoured to receive this prestigious recognition. It is a testament to the efforts of the great many colleagues I have worked with over the years here at the University and within the School of Electronics and Computer Science, who have always provided me with a stimulating and supportive working environment. The response to this honour from my family and friends has been one of sheer delight.”

Al-Hashimi is a world-renowned figure in the field science and engineering of energy-efficient computing, which remains a key enabling technology to underpin our digital world.

He has been instrumental in building the University’s reputation as a world-class centre for Electronics and Computer Science education and research and is recognised nationally and internationally in relation to his academic research and leadership, including his election as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014. Al-Hashimi works extensively with the electronics design industry and many of the outputs he has developed personally or in conjunction with his research team are used by companies around the world.

Dr Syed Tanzeem Haider Raza, Consultant Physician at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is to be made an OBE for services to health and medical education.

Dr Raza pioneered the new speciality of Acute Medicine in 1997. He set up a large Acute Medicine Unit at Bournemouth, which has been at the forefront of developing innovative ways of looking after acutely ill patients. He was also the Regional Advisor for Acute Medicine in Wessex until 2014.

He is the Director of Medical Education for his hospital in addition to being an honorary senior clinical lecturer with the University of Southampton. He’s also been responsible for training over two dozen refugee doctors who now work within the NHS.

He is accredited Educator for the Royal College of Physicians and has completed a Masters degree in Medical Education from Cardiff University. Dr Raza told The Muslim News, “I am truly humbled and honoured by this, and I am very proud of my time working in the NHS.”

Architect Farshid Moussavi has also been handed an OBE. The Iranian-born architect, who was joint head of award-winning practice Foreign Office Architects (1993-2011) before setting up Farshid Moussavi Architecture, was given the honour in recognition of her services to architecture.

Last year Moussavi curated the architecture space at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition.

Founder of She Speaks, We Hear, an online platform bringing together women’s voices, Akeela Ahmed will be made an MBE for her services to Muslim women.

Ahmed is an equalities campaigner specialising in youth and gender issues. She has over ten years experience of supporting vulnerable individuals with complex social and mental health difficulties, providing support services to young and homeless people from diverse backgrounds, including refugees, asylum seekers, ex-offenders and BAME groups.

She was CEO of the Muslim Youth Helpline for three years and has advised the NSPCC, the Faith Inquiry project run by the leading think-tank Demos, The Prince’s Trust Mosaic’s Ex-Offender Programme, the production team for the national primetime TV drama Eastenders, as well as various Government departments.

Since 2012, she has been a Ministerial-appointed Government advisor, sitting on the Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hatred based at the Department for Communities and Local Government. Last year, she was appointed to the Office for the Children’s Commissioner advisory panel on the Child Sex Abuse in the Family Environment Inquiry. She is also the Muslim family specialist at the Christian Muslim Forum.

Ahmed told The Muslim News the MBE “is an honour not just for me but for the Muslim women who I work with whose voices are often unheard, and their positive contributions ignored.”

Ahmed dedicated her award to all immigrants including her parents, “If it wasn’t for my father and my mother, I wouldn’t be who I am today. So this honour is for them, and a testament to the sacrifices they have made and the obstacles they have overcome to give us a better life than their parents could have ever dreamed of.”

Walli Ullah, 55, Founder and Director, EMU Films Ltd, is to receive an MBE for services to the economy and overseas investment. A successful entrepreneur with over 25 years experience in film, TV and digital media. Ullah has been at the forefront of digital media developments and was an early pioneer of Video on Demand and Internet Protocol TV.

Most recently he is responsible for the multi-million-pound growth and sale of a global entertainment content production and distribution company. As CEO he built the company in Manchester to a turnover exceeding $100 million pa with staff and offices around the world.

President of the Pakistan Association Liverpool (PAL) Sarfraz Ali, 75, was honoured with an MBE for his services to community cohesion and integration in the city.

He is a key member of two of the oldest ethnic minority organisations in Liverpool, the Ar Rahma mosque and the PAL. He is regarded as the most senior figureheads in the Pakistani community and is actively involved in providing community activities. PAL built a multi-cultural community centre in 1977 which is now firmly established as being at the heart of the community.

He was responsible for the £561,000 renovation of the PAL Multicultural Centre which is used by members of the community. The centre has also refocused to meet the needs of ethnic minority women and elders to reduce isolation and combat social exclusion.

Ali was one of the founding members of the Afro, Asian and Caribbean Standing Committee on Merseyside, an umbrella organisation of faith organisations. He is also on the Board of the Merseyside and Cheshire Commonwealth Association.

Director of the Punjab Kitchen, Mohammed Ishaq, has received an MBE for services to innovation and the economy in Tyne and Wear. The business has transformed the lives of patients with special dietary needs and those who have difficulty swallowing. The company uses innovative techniques to develop a wide range of pureed meals which look and taste exactly like fully-formed food.

Starting out as a firm which supplied halal meals who could not get this food in hospital, the insight into the need for a different type of food for people with dysphagia sparked off the idea behind the pureed meals. The firm is now the largest supplier of special diet meals to the public sector feeding over 120,000 patients a week.

Tahir Masood is one of three Muslims to be BEM. The 54-year-old is being recognised his for services to young people to the community in Peterborough. Masood arrived in the UK aged 14 but has spent the last 37 years working with teenagers in Peterborough.

He holds group talks on a range of topics, from democratic values to enabling young people to raise issues concerning their school, friends and family. For the last 27 years, he has worked tirelessly to improve awareness, knowledge and understanding of Pakistani heritage in the city.

He published a bestselling historic heritage book on the Peterborough British-Pakistani community, raising thousands of pounds through sales in 2014. He also held a six-week exhibition at Peterborough Museum to celebrate the 60th year of Pakistani arrival in Peterborough. He is currently writing his tenth book.

FULL LIST OF MUSLIMS HONOURED IN THE QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY HONOURS

CB: Lowri Alice Khan CBE, Director, Financial Stability, HM Treasury, for public service. London.

CBE: Lubaina Himid MBE, Artist, for services to Art. Lancashire.

CBE: Professor Bashir Mohammed Ali Al-Hashimi, Professor of Computer Engineering, University of Southampton, for services to Computer Engineering and Industry.

OBE: Mrs Shahana Khan, for voluntary service to Healthcare and Social Housing in the West Midlands.

OBE: Farshid Moussavi, Architect, for services to Architecture. London.

OBE: His Honour Riaz Hassan Naqvi, Resident Judge, Sovereign Base Area Cyprus, for services to Defence. East Sussex.

OBE: Dr Syed Tanzeem Haider Raza, Consultant Physician, The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for services to Health and Medical Education.

MBE: Ajaz Khowaj Quoram Ahmed, Founder, AKQA, for services to Media. London.
MBE: Akeela Ahmed, Founder, She Speaks, We Hear, for services to Muslim Women. London.

MBE: Sarfraz Ali, President, Pakistan Association Liverpool, for services to Community Cohesion and Integration in Liverpool.

MBE: Mahomed Farouk Alimahomed, Chairman, Lesta Packaging plc, for services to Business, the community and Philanthropy. Leicestershire.

MBE: Faisal Atcha, Firefighter and Community Volunteer, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, for public service.

MBE: Ahmed Bedri, Founder, Sudan Supplementary School and Sudan Volunteer Programme, for services to Education. London.

MBE: Fakrul Alam Choudhury, for services to the community in Oldham.

MBE: Maboob Hussain, for services to West Yorkshire Police and to charity. West Yorkshire

MBE: Mohammad Iqbal, for services to charity and community relations in Manchester.

MBE: Mohammed Ishaq, Director, The Punjab Kitchen Ltd, for services to Innovation and the Economy in Tyne and Wear.

MBE: Nur-Ur-Rahman Khandaker, for services to catering and the community in Aylesford, Kent.

MBE: Rehana Mohammed, Learning Manager, Workers’ Educational Association, for services to the Education of Marginalised Women in Rochdale and Oldham.

MBE: Mohammed Mushtaq Raj, Senior Executive Officer, Home Office, for services to Race Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. West Yorkshire.

MBE: Nabila Sattar, for charitable and political services. London.

MBE: Dr Farnaaz Sharief, Governing Body Elected Clinical Member, NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, for services to Mental Health.

MBE: Walli Ullah, Founder and Director, EMU FilLtd, for services to the Economy and Overseas Investment. Kent.

MBE: Meerwis Daoud, Cultural Advisor to Senior British Representative, Kabul, for services to Defence. Cambridgeshire.

BEM: Dr Nadine Hachach-Haram, Plastic Surgery Registrar, NHS Clinical Entrepreneur, Founder of Proximie, for services to Surgery and Innovation. London.

BEM: Tahir Masood, for services to Young People and the community in Peterborough.

BEM: Abdul Aziz Sardar, for services to the community in Tower Hamlets, London.

QPM: Sergeant Abed Hussain, Greater Manchester Police

Eid day of prayers and celebrations

Aishah Ali

Eid al-Fitr occasion is celebrated by Muslims across the world, marking the end of the blessed month of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr means the ‘festival of breaking the fast’.

This is the first of two annual Eid occasions observed by Muslims. It marks the first day of the tenth month on the Islamic calendar, Shawwal. Muslims are thankful to God for allowing them to observe the blessed month of Ramadan and giving them the strength to fast and engage in worship and good work. The second festival, Eid ul Adha, marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah.

Muslims begin the day by attending sermons at the mosques and performing Eid prayer. People dress in their best or new clothes for the celebratory atmosphere, exchange gifts and Eid greetings.

Before the Eid day,  Muslims are expected to give a small amount to charity, known as Zakat al-Fitr. This is obligatory for all those Muslims who have more than the basic food necessities.

Saira Kaleem from Birmingham, explained, “Eid is a joyous occasion, a time to be grateful and give thanks for all the efforts and blessings of Ramadan. Muslims spend the day with family and friends, celebrating together, sharing food and gifts.”

Muhammad Idris from London, said, “The special day of Eid begins with attending the mosque for the congregational Eid prayers. It’s a time to meet Muslims in your community and wish them a blessed day. The Ramadan experience has allowed us to understand the importance of qualities such as gratefulness and patience, and on Eid, we give thanks for reaping all these rewards and blessings.”

Aleesha Begum said on Eid day they “give thanks to God for giving us the strength to fast and allowing us to live through the blessings of Ramadan. It is a time for Muslims to celebrate with their families and communities. We prepare delicious food, invite family and friends, exchange gifts, and Eid greetings”

Young children are also enthusiastic to take part in Eid prayers and learn about the occasion. Aamina Ali, 8, and Bilal Azhar, 7, explained why they enjoy Eid: “We really look forward to Eid because it’s a fun day. We wear nice clothes, eat a variety of food, and have lots of presents.”

High expectations from first Muslim to hold great office of state

(Photo: Chatham House)

Hamed Chapman

Sajid Javid received widespread acclaim from all sides of the House of Commons upon his appointment as Britain’s first Muslim Home Secretary after the resignation of Amber Rudd over the mishandling of the Windrush immigration crisis.

“I congratulate the Home Secretary on his new position occupying one of the great offices of state,” said Shadow Home Secretary, Diana Abbott, on April 30 as she opened an emergency question session on the scandal. Like Javid, she is also a second generation immigrant.

Similarly, Labour MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah, offered her congratulations on the promotion of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary. “First, from the daughter of a Pakistani migrant to the son of a Pakistani migrant, mubarak upon your appointment,” she said.

Former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Life Sciences, George Freeman, who worked under Javid when he was Business Secretary under Prime Minister, David Cameron, paid tribute, saying that “there is no one better to sort out this mess” caused by Windrush scandal.

During the Parliamentary debate, the 47-year old son of a Pakistani bus driver started by making a pledge to all those adversely affected to “do whatever it takes” to put everything right. “Our first priority is to help those members of the Windrush generation,” he said.

Javid faces a full in-tray of huge challenges in his new position, including many that affect the country’s Muslim population, associated with the scourge of terrorism, Islamophobia and alienation caused by draconian laws directed mainly at the community. There are high expectations that his background may offer a unique approach to start to transform the relationship.

SNP Justice and Home Affairs Secretary, Joanna Cherry, also congratulated the new Home Secretary on his appointment. “It is only right to acknowledge the fact that he is the first person from a black and minority ethnic background to hold the office of Secretary of State for the Home Department,” she told MPs.

Another to welcome Javid on his promotion was Labour MP Luciana Berger who said she recognised “his achievement as the first British Asian to be appointed to one of the four great offices of state.”  Conservative MP Rebecca Pow said that Javid “brings his own particular personal insight and integrity.”

Tory Vice Chair, Marcus Jones (Nuneaton), who worked with the new Home Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, was convinced he would do “a diligent and good job.” Party colleagues Alan Mak and Matt Warman respectively described the appointment as “historic” and “ground-breaking.”

Outside Parliament, one of the first to congratulate Javid was Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was also the son of a Pakistani bus driver and previously had been the first Muslim to attend Cabinet. Both have been tipped to eventually become respective leaders of their political parties.

 

Eid Messages: Political leaders

Eid messages from the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Vince Cable MP and First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones AM

Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister

 
It has been said that, on Eid al-Fitr, “it seems as though all the noise suppressed for a whole month has concentrated itself within one night”. It is certainly a time for great celebration and joy, as we’re seeing in Muslim communities across the country today. But of course, the end of the holy month of Ramadan is about more than simply having fun. It’s a time for Muslims to come together with family, friends and neighbours. It’s an opportunity for spiritual renewal. A chance to help those less fortunate and give thanks for all that is good in your life. And it is an opportunity for all of us here in the UK to reflect on and celebrate the incredible contribution to our national life made by Britain’s three million Muslims.

In every corner of the country and every walk of life, British Muslims are making a positive contribution to their communities and their country, playing their part in making this a successful, diverse nation that can we can all be proud of.

So, as the Eid outfits are chosen, the presents are wrapped and the sweet treats are prepared, let us all take a moment to give thanks – not just for what is good in our lives, but for the millions of British Muslims who enrich the lives of so many.

Eid Mubarak.

 

Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, Opposition Leader

Assalamu’alaikum,

I would like to wish Eid Mubarak to Muslims in the UK and all around the world celebrating Eid-al Fitr.

Eid is a wonderful time for Muslims and people of all faiths and none to celebrate with their: friends, family, neighbours and loved ones.

During Ramadan I have been privileged to join Iftars the moment at the end of a day of fasting when people come together to share a meal.

I had the pleasure of breaking fast not only at my local Mosque in Finsbury Park but also at Al-Manaar an inspirational Mosque which is just a mile from Grenfell Tower. Worshippers of this mosque were some of the first to respond to the tragic fire in June last year. And Al-Manaar Mosque continues to play a critical role for the community including by opening a dedicated Grenfell counselling office.

This is an example of the teachings of Islam in practice. Teachings which are about compassion for our neighbours and reflecting on how we can be more respectful to those around us. As we strive to build a better society these are values which should resonate with each and every one of us.

Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones.

 

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP

On behalf of the Scottish Government, I am delighted to send my warmest greetings to Muslims in Scotland and across the world who are celebrating Eid. As Muslim communities mark a joyous end to Ramadan’s month of fasting and spiritual renewal, Eid is a time of celebration – but also a time of giving and spending time with family and friends. And it is a time when everyone in Scotland can reflect on the contribution the Muslim community makes to our diverse, modern nation.

I wish you all Eid Mubarak.

 

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Vince Cable MP

I would like to send warm wishes to everyone celebrating Eid al-Fitr. All over the country, families and friends will gather together once more to celebrate the blessings of another holy month of Ramadan. I would especially like to thank you for your acts of charity and generosity throughout the fast. I admire you all for your discipline and dedication throughout Ramadan and hope that your celebrations will be joyful and peaceful.

Eid Mubarak!

 

First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones AM

As families and friends come together during this special time, let us celebrate the contribution Muslim communities make to Welsh society. The values of generosity, forgiveness and compassion, which are celebrated during Eid, are ones which should be upheld across Wales and the rest of the world. I wish all those who are celebrating, a very happy and joyous Eid al-Fitr.

Raising funds for Yemen for Ramadan

Mukhtar Karim

For the past 21 years, the UK based charity, the Lady Fatemah Charitable Trust, has provided needy families with food baskets to help them break their fasts with a nourishing meal. This year the fundraising to feed the needy in Ethiopia, Gaza, Kenya, India, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen was assisted by two fundraising initiatives. This initiative helps them understand the causes of poverty which it works to alleviate through projects in microfinance, education, healthcare and the provision of clean water.

The first, led by Aaliya Ladha and Khadizatul Kubra who organised a charity fundraising event at their school, Beaconsfield High School in South Buckinghamshire, to raise money for the victims of the war in Yemen. During the event, they painted henna on their friends and teacher’s hands and sold cakes and Indian street foods.

The event both helped raise awareness of the crisis in Yemen and inspired their friends to raise money to help some of the victims. These are some of the testimonials from their friends:

“I found that the pre-Ramadan charity event was enlightening. It was amazing to see so many students involved in helping us to help others around the world. I loved learning more about Islam and I hope integration of other faiths continue to blossom.”

“I’m so proud of everyone who organised and helped with the Ramadan charity event, they all put in so much effort to raise awareness and money for such an important cause and shared an amazing celebration and culture with the rest of the school,” said Cara McKillop.

The second initiative at the Enfield Dental practice saw dental nurses Zoe, Laura and Leyla join in with their Muslim colleagues Dr Wasim and Dr Samana Fazel in fasting for a week and raising money from colleagues and patients for food baskets to be distributed in Yemen. The collective camaraderie of the staff in joining their Muslim colleagues helped them understand the spirit of the Blessed Month as well as empathise with needy people around the world encouraged patients to be generous in donating a total of £800 in total to date.

Together the two initiatives together with other donors have helped the LFT reach out to 200 families in Yemen together with over 5,000 families in the other countries this Ramadan.

Exclusive: 400 Muslim councillors elected

Elham Asaad Buaras

An estimated 380 Muslim councillors were elected in England on May 3, constituting 9 per cent of the 4,371 newly elected councillors, according to data exclusively compiled by The Muslim News.

Most of the seats up for election had last been contested in the 2014 local elections, when 277 Muslim councillors were elected, meaning that 103 more Muslim councillors were elected, despite boundaries changes wiping out a significant number of seats.

The result also means Muslims constitute 8.6 per cent of the newly elected councillors an increase of 2.1 per cent.

Like all previous local elections, Muslim Labour councillors dominate the political landscape of Muslim politicians. 341 Muslim Labour councillors were elected this year constituting 90 per cent of all Muslim councillors and 15 per cent of all Labour councillors. A total of 20 Conservative Muslim candidates were elected out of 292 candidates.

Only 39 per cent of elected Muslim councillors are women (Labour 102; Conservative 3; Liberal Democrat 3, Other 1). However, women candidates did surpass their male counterpart success rate, 109 (40+) of 231 Muslim women candidates were elected (47 per cent); compared to the 271 Muslim men elected out of 777 candidates (35 per cent).

Thirty-five per cent of the 150 councils up for election did not have a Muslim candidate.

18 out of 127 Muslim Liberal Democrat candidates were elected, representing 3 per cent of the 536 newly Liberal Democrat councillors).

 

EXCLUSIVE: newly elected Muslim councillors

Rokhsana Fiaz, London’s first directly elected woman mayor

(Photo: Newham Council)

Nadine Osman

Rokhsana Fiaz became the first woman to be directly elected mayor in London, having secured 73.4 per cent of the first preference (53,214) votes in the local elections, held on May 3.

She replaces Sir Robin Wales, who was deselected after 16 years in the post. At his last election, he received 61 per cent of the votes.

Fiaz was first elected councillor for Custom House Ward in 2014; she went onto serve as a Chair of a Scrutiny Commission, a member of the Authority’s Audit Board and its Strategic Development Committee.

Fiaz, whose parents moved to London from Pakistan in the early 1960s, told The Muslim News,  “The first few weeks my Mayoralty has been exciting, educational and challenging. Residents are at the heart of everything I do so I have been out and about in the borough meeting as many people as possible to find out what they want from their council and what I can do to help.

“I am very proud to have held two events aimed at engaging with residents. I met dozens of young people in my inaugural event at Forest Gate Youth Zone and discussed their issues and concerns. I want to work collaboratively with them to find solutions. Tackling youth violence and ensuring continued improvements in education are both high on my agenda.

This week I held the first Citizen Assembly which will be introduced across Community Neighbourhoods and will encourage residents to work with the council and play a meaningful role in the democratic life of this borough.

“Housing is also high on my agenda. Already I have met with leading figures in both national and London government including shadow minister for housing MP John Healey and London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development James Murray. These meetings are essential in helping me to deliver my proposals to tackle the housing crisis and its impact on Newham residents.

“I want to thank the people of Newham for putting their faith and trust in me. As Mayor I will work with our residents, with the council and with my cabinet so that we can make a real difference for all our communities in Newham; including transforming the borough where everyone has a role in shaping its future so that it is stronger, safer, cleaner and fairer.

“Finally I would like to send good wishes to everyone who is observing the holy month of Ramadan.”

Fiaz’s priority will be housing, with her pledge to build 1,000 council-owned homes at social rent levels by 2022, and promising half the homes built by developers to be at social rent levels.

She’s also pledging to double the number of youth hubs in the borough in a bid to get kids off the streets and away from violence, and she’ll be opposing further academisation and the Silvertown Tunnel scheme.

Newham is one of four London boroughs in which mayors are elected directly by the voters.

Newham Council has been under Labour control since its creation in 1964. In the 2010 election, all 60 seats were won by Labour.

Muslims who raised £27k for Manchester victims distribute water at memorial

(Photo: Human Appeal)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Muslims who work and volunteer for Human Appeal, the charity which raised £27,000 for the victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in May 2017,  gave out free bottles of water to people attending the screening of the memorial in Cathedral Gardens, Manchester on May 22.

In a statement to The Muslim News, Human Appeal’s Domestic Programmes Manager, Samra Said, said. “The £27,000 plus we helped raise last year in response to the horrific events at the Manchester Arena helped 187 people who were either caught up in the attack or were bereaved family members or friends. It helped pay for funeral costs, medical bills, emergency accommodation and psycho-social support for those affected.”

Community Fundraising Manager for the British Red Cross, Max Newton, who Human Appeal partnered with for Muslims for Manchester, said: “On behalf of the British Red Cross and the ‘We Love Manchester’ appeal, I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported Human Appeal and enabled them to donate an amazing £27,487.05 to help those affected by the terrible attack at the Manchester Arena. It is an incredibly kind and humanitarian act and it is truly inspiring to see so many people and organisations from all parts of society come together at this time.”

Islamic Relief launches campaign tackling violence against women

Islamic Relief launch campaign to tackle violence against women (Photo: Ahmed J Versi/Muslim News)

Abdul Adil

Islamic Relief launched a major faith-inspired advocacy campaign to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), both internationally and domestically.

Islamic Relief is using the campaign to take a proactive stance against all forms of VAWG, including domestic abuse, sexual violence, human trafficking, forced and early child marriage, female genital mutilation and so-called “honour” killings.

The “Honour Her” campaign calls upon the UK Muslim community, as well as imams, to mobilise, raise awareness and take action on this issue within their congregations.

Imran Madden, UK Director of Islamic Relief, said they are committed to “ending violence against women and girls worldwide as part of our core mission to save lives.”

“As part of our work, which is firmly rooted in the Islamic principles of justice and equality, we aim to challenge the religious and cultural misconceptions that allow violence against women and girls to occur in the countries that we work in.”

Muslim scholar Shaykh Fahim, said, “If anyone thinks that violence against women or girls is acceptable they must know that any kind of violence against women, girls or weaker people is haram (forbidden) and is condemned in Islam.”

One of the ambassadors of the campaign, Muslim blogger and model, Mariah Idrissi, said she was lending her support to the campaign using “my profile as an influencer. Our voice is important as we are able to reach young people using social media.”

She said it was important “to end violence against women and girls around the world as gender-based violence is virtually taboo in the Muslim world and isn’t often spoken about in our community. By bringing this to global attention, we are making a powerful statement about our collective power as women and as Muslims.”

At a major UN conference on women’s rights in March, representatives of Islamic Relief Worldwide publicly called on Muslim faith leaders, governments, institutions and civil society actors to commit to establishing gender justice globally.

Party leaders Ramadan message

Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister

I send my warmest wishes to all those celebrating Ramadan: a unique and special time for Muslims in the UK and around the world. Ramadan is a time for Muslims to find strength through devotion to fulfil one of the five pillars of their religion. It is a time for them to renew their faith in God and to become more attuned to their spirituality.

And while the holy month is marked by celebrations, gathering with friends and family to pray, sharing in the Iftar meal and exchanging gifts, Muslims around the world will also remember those less fortunate than themselves, those who are suffering. You take action by showing compassion and generosity to those in need; and continuing to donate millions to charitable projects here and abroad. British Muslims, and people of Muslim origin continue to make an indelible and positive mark on every aspect of life in the United Kingdom. Your influence can be seen across all spheres of society: from politics, media and business to sport and fashion.  You enrich our country and all of us benefit from the talents of our Muslim colleagues and neighbours.

May all those celebrating this happy occasion draw strength throughout this festival of peace, reflection and good deeds; even as we remember those around the world who will be marking this festival in places of insecurity and conflict. So, I wish you Ramadan Mubarak, and may everyone celebrating experience happiness, unity and peace during this special and important time.

 

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP

I extend my best wishes to Muslim communities in Scotland and across the world as they prepare for Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. The Muslim communities of Scotland are a hugely valued part of our society – their values of community and coming together for the common good lie at the heart of Ramadan. These are the same values which unite us all rather than divide us. I would like to wish everyone, Ramadan Kareem.

 

Liberal Democrat Leader, Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable MP

I would like to wish all those embarking on this holy month a heartfelt Ramadan Kareem. Ramadan’s themes of humanity, reflection and generosity are crucial to a cohesive society. As we approach the first anniversary of the Finsbury Park attack, we emphasise the need for adequate levels of security to protect British Muslims, not just during Ramadan but all year round. British mosques are making an immense contribution to UK society. To take just a few examples, the Norwich Bangladeshi Mosque has been providing meals to those in need, the West London Mosque whose members arranged shelter for the homeless during the recent cold weather and the Cambridge “eco-mosque” which when complete, will be a beacon of environmental sustainability.I wish all those taking part a safe, peaceful and spiritual Ramadan.

 

May denies acting as Trump’s lapdog in bombing Syria

Hamed Chapman

Prime Minster, Theresa May, denied that she acted effectively as the lapdog of President Donald Trump when joining with the US and France in bombing selected targets in Syria on April 14.

Defending her decision to authorise the sending of four Tornados to fire eight Storm Shadow cruise missiles, she insisted that the restricted military action was in the “national interest” and was “legally and moral right” despite being carried out without a UN Security Council mandate and the approval by Parliament.

Facing questions from MPs, May was further criticised for not waiting for inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to independently verify that an alleged gas attack on Douma, near Damascus, had actually taken place on April 7 and that the alleged perpetrator responsible was the government of Bashir al-Assad.

“Were we not just following orders from America? Let me be absolutely clear: we have acted because it is in our national interest to do so,” she told Parliament.

“We have not done this because President Trump asked us to; we have done it because we believed it was the right thing to do.”

Days before the strikes, the US President announced on Twitter his intentions to launch military action, warning Syria that “nice and new and smart” missiles would be coming. It was an issue taken up in the House of Commons debate by former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kenneth Clarke, to have one more excuse not to recall MPs to gain their approval.

“The Prime Minister said that there was a problem of time, but surely once President Trump had announced to the world what he was proposing, a widespread debate was taking place everywhere – including among many Members of Parliament in the media. However, there was no debate in Parliament,” the father of the House said.

Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, raised reports by the BBC that the Prime Minister had brought forward the missile strikes on Syria ahead of MPs returning from the Easter recess to “avoid Parliamentary scrutiny.”

He also challenged her on the legality doubts of the action, suggesting that UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, also said as much when reiterating that all countries must “act in line with the United Nations charter, which states that action must be in self-defence or be authorised by the United Nations Security Council.”
May had assured that Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, had given clear legal advice approving the action but a summary that she published cites no authority. It does not quote the UN Charter, any Security Council Resolution or any international treaty of any kind which justifies this action.

“The summary note references the disputed humanitarian intervention doctrine, but even against this, the Government fail their own tests. The overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe due to the civil war in Syria is absolutely indisputable, but the Foreign Secretary said yesterday that these strikes would have no bearing on the civil war. The Prime Minister has reiterated that today by saying that this is not what these military strikes were about,” Corbyn told Parliament.

Further criticism of the military action focused on the timing of the attacks that coincided with the arrival of OPCW inspectors in Syria and that there was no proof that chemical weapons had been used, let alone who was responsible.

“While much suspicion rightly points to the Assad Government, chemical weapons have been used by other groups in the conflict – for example, Jaish al-Islam [who had 15,000 fighters in Douma], which was reported to have used gas in Aleppo in 2016, among other groups,” the Labour Leader pointed out.

But May disputed the possibility of chemical weapons being used by others. “It is understood that these chemical weapons were delivered by barrel bombs, which are normally dropped from helicopters. There is the evidence that I cited in relation to regime helicopter activity in Douma on the date in question, and it is not the case that the groups to which the Rt Hon Gentleman referred have access to the helicopters and barrel bombs that would be able to deliver such a chemical weapons attack.”

Among those to have warned that Britain needed “unequivocal proof” that the chemical attack in Douma was carried out by Assad’s forces was former professional head of Britain’s senior military force Lord West, who was also previously a Home Office minister with responsibility for security as well as an advisor to Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

“I’m not at all convinced at the moment we have unequivocal proof. All of the reports are coming from people like the White Helmets, who have a track record of actually doing propaganda for the opposition forces in Syria. The World Health Organisation reports are coming from doctors working in Douma who are also part of the opposition there,” the former First Sea Lord said.

Speaking on TalkRadio, he also questioned the motives behind the attack, remarking that for Syrian Government to use chemical weapons at this stage in a war he had nearly won was illogical. “As a military man, if I had been an advising Assad, I’d have said ‘you’re about to take over that bit of territory, you’ve nearly got the whole of that area now under your control. Why on earth would you do something that would bring the international forces in?’”

Further doubts about what happened in Douma were raised by award-winning journalist Robert Fisk, who was among the first media representatives to arrive the underground clinic at the centre of the crisis to be told by a senior doctor there that the victims were “overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.”

“There was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a ‘White Helmet’, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning,” Dr Assim Rahaibani said.

Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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